"John Christian, billionaire, industrial czar, pillar of the community, respectable family man with three children, seven grandchildren, and a wife who loves him deeply, dies suddenly at the age of eighty-one. When the private safe in his study is opened, besides the expected cash, stock certificates, etc., a reel of 8 mm film is found, a film which depicts what seems to be the brutal murder of a teenage girl. Private Detective Tom Welles is hired by a disturbed Mrs Christian to find out if the film is a simulated killing, since she is a kind and caring woman who cannot bear the thought that it might be real. So begins Joel Schumacher's 8MM, a movie which has all the ingredients of a succesful thriller: extreme brutality, multiple murders, torture, mutilation, blood, greed, sexual perversion, pornography, ****speak, and, to top it all off, the 'snuff' movie around which this film turns. But there is more. Not only are the acting, photography, settings, costumes, dialogue, pacing, and the haunting background music all superbly managed, but the movie is also that rarity among the torrent of mindless trash which Hollywood, in its extreme contempt for the modern audience, inflicts on us today: it is a movie with a deep, even profound, meaning, a meaning with cosmic implications. This meaning is one which will probably escape many viewers. It will not escape those who have carefully read Sade, a writer who has replaced Kafka as the key figure of the modern sensibility. Only Sade prepares us both to witness and understand the sort of horror that we find at the center of Schumachers brilliant metaphysical thriller, a thriller in which figures who seem to have stepped right out of Sade's 'Juliette' or '120 Days of Sodom' have been transplanted into the modern world. Do not miss this movie."
Not as bad as critics say it is.
Church of The Flaming Sword | 03/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I decided to watch 8MM on HBO late one night with an open mind. I actually glad that I did. It does have its faults. Nicholas Cage's performance as Tom Welles goes from one extreme to the other: he is both over-emotive at times and wooden at others. The pace is a little slow at times. And without knocking the actual quality of the film, it is not always easy to watch. Well neither is A Clockwork Orange, and that movie is a complete masterpiece. Then again, how can you make a film using the underworld snuff film trade as a backdrop easy to watch? For those of you that want to write 8MM off as another Death Wish/Dirty Harry vigilante action romp, you're missing the point. If anything, 8MM is the antithesis to what those films are about. You see the possibly irreparable moral and psychological damage that Welles undergoes when he takes the life of homicidal underworld figure who has no qualms with doing away with Welles. Do you ever see a Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson character racked with regret - even when you take into consideration the death of a truly despicable and worthless person? True enough, Welles never stoops so low as to murder an innocent law-abiding citizen, yet you see a dramatic change in his character as the film progresses - and not for the better.Another thing that I liked about 8MM was Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of Max California. On the surface, he is a tattooed punk rocker who works in an adult book store. But underneath, he is the moral compass of the film. You'll learn to like Max much in the same way that Welles learns to. While Max lives as a single man without much responsiblity, he respects Welles for his dedication to family life. I especially liked the scene in which Max and Welles meet for the first time - I shouldn't have to tell anyone what kind of magazine Max was hiding his Truman Capote paperback under. And let's not forget the memorable line about trying to "change the devil".Before I sign off, I must caution you not to expect an easy lighthearted movie. Don't even expect an action flick. But if you want to check out something dark that will make you think and challenge you, you may want to check out 8MM.Overall rating: 4.25 stars."
Honest view of society
Church of The Flaming Sword | 09/05/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, hold on to your hats, this is a wild one. Nicholas Cage plays as a private detective, Tom Welles. Welles is hired by an elderly woman of wealth, to determine the validity of a reel of film she has found in her late husbands safe. Welles, travels from coast to coast to find the subjects on the film. This is a disturbing film, and delves into the sleazier side of film making. There is scenes of nudity, sado/masochism, and other sick stuff. The critics didn't like this and many other movie reviewers also tore it up. It is a sick work, but a well done one. If you want to see a happy film buy "You've Got Mail", or some other all the world is good and kind film. Sadly, this film touches close to the mores of our society, and nobody wants to deal with that. Thousands of Children and young adults, are abducted, or run away from home, and end up on the street and into the society shown by this film. This is a brutal honest look, at something we would rather not admit to. REVIEWED 9/5/99 BY JOHN"
mlittlehi | Seattle | 02/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"8mm is a breakthrough move in many aspects. The cinematography is excellent, and the tone of the entire movie remains dark and grim. The plot is very original, and although it won't appeal to many people, it must be respected that filmmakers would actually venture out this far and make a movie which aims to disturb everyone.I am a fan of Nicolas Cage, but I was rather dissapointed with his performance. He had some good one liners and displayed his anger well, but overall he came out more like a 2 dimensional character. The real star of the film was Joaqiun Phoenix, the porn shop owner hired by Cage, who delivered a realistic and exceptional performance.I do reccoment watching the film. It's something that needs to be experienced by everyone. Some people won't be able to sleep at night, other's will watch it without any problems, and some might even be fascinated by the idea of watching someone's death on film. All in all, this is a movie that made a huge impact on the way I define the word "disturbing", and it will too for everyone else that chooses to watch it. Reccomended."
One of the best movies ever
music fan | USA | 06/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Everyone who gave this movie less that 4 stars should make an appointment and get their head examined today. People, if this isn't one of the most gripping, horrifying, compelling movies ever, then I don't know what is...Please, all those 1-2-3 star reviewers, let me know WHAT movies you recommend to see...can't wait...ha...ha"